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Friday, December 20, 2013

A Resurgence Of Electronic Classical Music

Tristan Perich is a composer who builds and programs microchips to make music. (tristanperich.com)

Tristan Perich is a composer who builds and programs microchips to make music. (tristanperich.com)

Electronic sounds created by machines like vocoders, synthesizers and laptops have become pretty standard in popular music, but electronic music is also having a resurgence in new works by classical composers.

Classical composers have worked with electronics since the end of World War II, but the new technologies and people’s growing familiarity with electronically-produced sounds has led to new and interesting works in the classical world.

Composers working with electronic music use a range of devices, from computers — like their pop music counterparts use — to electronic hardware like microchips, in order to produce sound.

Jacob Cooper, a Brooklyn-based composer who makes electronic music, joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to share compositions by his peers who work with electronics.

His picks include works by Daniel Wohl, who processes acoustic instruments through computer software; Tristan Perich, who builds and programs microchips; Paula Matthusen, who creates multimedia installations; and Ted Hearne and Philip White, who collaborate as R We Who R We to recompose pop songs with live electronic manipulation and processing.

While some electronic classical music is experimental and might sound like noise, Cooper says it just takes a little open-mindedness.

“The question of what is music is an age-old question,” Cooper tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson. “I like to think of music as any sound that is organized and creates a reaction in the listener, which this certainly does.”

Jacob’s Picks

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